SmartHome

An introduction to Homey

An introduction to Homey

What is Homey?

Homey is a smart home companion with a bold mission; to enable smart home devices to work together to make your home cosy, safe, green and awesome.

While this sounds simple, it’s actually quite difficult.

There’s a number of smart home languages (Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Zigbee and more) that don’t readily communicate with one another. And a growing number of smart devices that require support in order to work seamlessly.

But Homey and its active developer community are working hard and have already achieved great things.

With over 50,000 devices supported from over 1000 brands, Homey can use a Z-Wave Sensor to trigger a Zigbee light (and vice-versa), send a push notification to your phone and/or perform a virtually limitless number of other actions.

Homey stays true to its word and unlocks the ability to creatively connect your devices and services to reinvent the way you live within your home.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the core features of Homey that give it this superpower. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Homey Apps connect Homey to smart devices and internet-based services
  • Homey Flows enable your devices and apps to work together to make your home more liveable
  • Homey Insights show you key data collected from your smart devices

Apps in Homey

Every Homey begins its life as a blank canvas.

Apps are like splashes of colour that give your Homey some personality, enabling it to connect with various smart devices and online services. You can find the complete range of Apps here.

You’ll notice that before you can connect a smart devices or use a service within Homey, you’ll have to install the associated app.

Have a Z-Wave device from Aeotec? Download the Aeotec App, find your device and the purpose-built app will guide you through your specific devices pairing process.

Want Homey to work with IFTTT? Download the IFTTT app and follow the prompts.

Want to turn Homey into a security command center? Download and install the Heimdall app.

The great thing about Homey’s app approach is that it’s modular. Apps can be created, updated and installed independently without having to change Homey itself. This creates a great environment for developers, who can develop and improve apps to expand Homey’s capabilities, and enables your Homey to run on the bare-minimum amount of must-have information.

To summarise, apps are the link between Homey and smart devices and services.

There are three general types of apps…

Apps for Smart Devices

Homey supports all of the industry standard smart home protocols, including; Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth (BLE), Wi-Fi, NFC & RF.

To support this diversity, Homey has a dedicated app for each of the leading brands, enabling Homey to work seamlessly with a wide variety of smart devices.

Simply download the app of your favourite smart device makers and pair: smart sensors, smart lights, door locks, smart blinds, smart thermostats, security cameras – really, any smart product that has a physical form is compatible with Homey.

Once the app is installed, adding a device is then as simple as following the below procedure.

homey-flow-1
1.Click 'Add a device'
homey-flow-2
2. Select your manufacturers app and your product
homey-flow-3
3. Follow the inclusion instructions

Apps for Internet Services

Software apps enable Homey to connect to a large number of internet-based services such as; IFTTT, Email, Telegram, MQTT, Weather and many more.

Download these apps and Homey will be able to use these services and information provided by them to improve your smart home experience.

Apps to Supercharge Homey

Supercharge apps (or tools) add functionality to Homey so it can work in more advanced ways. These include; Heimdall, Virtual Devices, Battery Monitor, HTTP Request flow cards, Better Logic,  Solar Panels and many, many more.

Download these apps if you want to improve the performance of Homey and use features that don’t come preinstalled.

Homey Smart Hub Interface

Flows in Homey

Flows are how Homey connects various devices, services and different apps together to create a single, seamless sequence of events.

This is where the power of apps really begins to shine. Every app installed on Homey creates app-specific cards, which are used to create Flows.

Every ‘Flow’ follows the same basic structure:

  • When… this happens (the trigger)
  • And this is true (condition)
  • Then…make this happen (the action)

To set the ‘When’, ‘And’ & ‘Then’, simply select the card that represents the respective trigger, condition or action.

Flows are triggered by ‘When’ events such as sensor detecting change (motion, temperature, light etc), a voice-command or when the clock hits a specific time. Each of these triggers has its own specific card that can be selected. Here’s an example that turns on the bedroom light – but only if certain triggers and conditions are met:

homey-flow-4
1. Click 'Add card'
homey-flow-5
2. Select the 'trigger' device/type. I've selected the MultiSensor 6 from earlier
homey-flow-6
3. Select the 'trigger' event. I've selected when motion is detected
homey-flow-7
4. Click 'And' to add an additional condition
homey-flow-8
5. Find the trigger device/type and select the trigger event
homey-flow-9
6. Click 'Then' to add the action. I've selected to turn on the bedroom light

Insights in Homey

One of the key benefits of a smart home is that we can track how our home is performing over time. Energy, temperature, luminance, battery life – any data that is measured by a sensor can be used as the basis to improve how our home performs.

Want to know how much more energy your washing machine uses on a hot cycle than an eco-cycle? Use a Smart Switch and you’ll get data for that.

Homey does the heavy lifting here, converting tables of numbers into visually appealing graphs, where changes and discrepancies are easy to spot.

You can then use the data to make more informed decisions, or to create flows to automatically optimise your home.

Homey Insights

In summary

Homey’s mission is to enable smart home devices to work together so you can make your home cosy, safe, green and awesome.

And as it supports all the major smart home protocols, over 50,000 devices and a number of internet-based services, it does a great job at connecting all the devices in a seamless way.

Using Apps, you can link Homey to a variety of devices and services. You can then create Flows to string these devices and services into powerful sequences, and use insights to discover how your home is performing.

If you have any questions, thoughts or tips you’d like to share about Homey, drop a comment below. It’s always great to hear from you.

All the best!

-Luke

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